I finished the one-month, 5-days-a-week plank challenge this morning by going all out: a total of 15 minutes and 20 seconds doing the basic plank, the side one, the one with your elbows on the balance board, the one with your feet on the balance board, tabata intervals, you name it. My stomach muscles did get stronger (as the before and after photos I took show), but I still feel that my shoulders are doing all the work and my stomach is getting off easy.
No, I will not publish the before and after photos.
Stop begging me.
No, seriously. I wouldn't want to make everyone jealous with my rock hard abs.
Ok, maybe there isn't that much to see. The difference is very subtle (although both J and my parents could guess which was the ”before” and which one was the ”after” photo). I am planning on continuing with the plank, only now my good friend S (who's studied this kind of stuff and is very knowledgeable) is currently planning a sequel to the plank challenge. I am waiting for it with weary anticipation. Mixed with a healthy dose of fear. What will she come up with?!
After I was done with my plank marathon, my parents and I took a long walk by the sea. I ran 12 minutes in my insoles (split up in 2 minute-intervals, with walking breaks), before I took off my shoes to try running barefoot once again. I had never tried running barefoot on tarmac before. The experience left me longing for the gravel-covered forest paths. The grains in the tarmac felt like nails, making the aforementioned gravel feel like cotton candy by comparison (I would later notice I had gotten a blood blister under my big toe). There was no deliciously soft, cool mud to give relief, nor pine-needle carpet to absorb the shock of the impact. Just hard ground. Never again.
|Behind the camera: my dad. In front of the camera: bad running technique|
To add insult to injury, I had left my shoes with my mom, who is an avid walker and a fast one at that. Some miscalculation on my part left me finishing my run half a kilometre behind her. I then joined forces with my dad (who was taking it easy, snapping photos of the sea and of me) and together we tried to catch up with mom. She was, quite obviously, going for the women's Olympic record in race walking. I was going as fast as I could, but I was barefoot and my progress was slow. We could see her in the distance, but she couldn't see us. She stopped at times, looked back at us waving our hands at her to stop and wait, but she thought we were just saying hello and powerwalked on.
Finally, we came close enough to make our signals clearer. She gave me my shoes and jacket once we reached her and I breathed a sigh of relief. My feet were sore and happy to reunite with my shoes. I had run 3,8 km, 1,5 of which barefoot. Knee happy. Shaman misses gravel.